Noehren, affectionately known as “Dory” by his friends, was the only boy in a combined family of 12 siblings. He was a calming influence in our home. Even with the challenges of blending our family and living with 11 overdramatic sisters, My Boy, as I call him, never gave us any problems and always had a good attitude. He made everyone feel special. People felt beautiful, needed, loved, intelligent, and important around him. He always had a goofy grin ready for anybody who needed it! I especially miss his silliness!
Noehren had a strong spiritual side. He truly loved his Savior, Jesus Christ. Everywhere he went, Noehren was always looking for ways to serve others. When asked to do something, he would immediately jump to help. He died taking care of someone else. That’s just how he lived his life. Noehren liked to play Risk, Chess, and Legos. He had an engineer’s brain and would spend hours designing intricate Lego creations and race tracks for his Matchbox cars. He even won the Sweepstakes Award at our county fair for one of his Lego creations – a huge boat. His sisters would rope him into acting gigs and he was very adept at making audiences laugh. Noehren had taken an interest in woodworking and had just finished cutting out a layered marble maze he’d designed right before he died. He was fun, a hard worker, studious, and self-driven.
He was playing night games with his friends when he noticed one of the younger girls had fallen behind the rest of the group and went back to get her, because he was always thinking of others. As they crossed the street to catch up with the rest of their friends, Noehren was seen bent down as if to tie his shoes. The young girl heard him say from behind her, “Oh, there’s a curb there.” We think he tripped over the curb and quickly got himself up to cross the street. The driver said he saw kids, but apparently he didn’t see Noehren. Some of the kids in the group saw him get hit. They watched his body fly through the air and then land on the road. They heard him groan in pain right after he landed. They witnessed as his body went into involuntary “posturing” as his brain lost oxygen almost immediately after the accident. They watched their friend lose his life. For the remainder of their lives, they will have this experience etched in their minds.
Noehren was pronounced brain dead the following morning, Sunday, September 17, 2017, and Donor Services kept his body alive for the next few days while they looked for recipients. The intensive care unit waiting room became a party that day with all of his friends and our family. There were tears and laughter and stories being told about My Boy, about their best friend. There was so much heartbreak and healing that happened in that day. I felt my son near me the whole time, giving me comfort. It was such a blessing for me. But eventually life went on… about two weeks after he died, I could feel that my heart had been crushed. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be able to put the pieces back together. A year later, and my heart still aches with a tremendous pain that is nearly impossible to bear. I take comfort in knowing that his organ donation has helped not only the recipients in their healing, but also that their families and friends get to keep their loved ones nearby in their lives because My Boy was so generous, even in death.